Maritime Heritage Minnesota has identified an assortment of new wrecks on the bottom of Lake Minnetonka.
"We can't label them as archaeological sites yet because we can't determine their age until we dive on them," Ann Merriman, director of Maritime Heritage Minnesota, said.
Fish led divers to one site that could be historic. Merriman said sonar readings identified an area of interest, and schools of panfish, pike and other lake dwellers heated up the trail.
"There were schools of fish buzzing about, and fish love objects on the bottom of the lake," Merriman said. "A large anomaly may be a wreck, possibly that of the first steamer on the lake, Governor Ramsey/Excelsior/Lady of the Lake/Minnetonka/Mermaid. It's a really tough one since if it is a wreck, it is quite buried by silt."
Maritime Heritage Minnesota spent hours reviewing old newspaper clippings about Lake Minnetonka at the Minnesota Historical Society and report finding much more about the lower portion of the lake.
Merriman says two other new wrecks are distinctive.
"One looks like a runabout, and the other is an over-turned pontoon boat—it is very distinctive since the pontoons are clearly defined and the whole thing casts an acoustical shadow off the bottom," she said. "It seems the deck of the boat is still attached and its sitting off the bottom a bit. We think we have at least one dugout canoe—we really hope so—but we must dive on this anomaly as well to be positive. The sonar image is promising, though."
A scattering of other annomolies on Lake Minnetonka's bottom have also been identified as possible dive sites.
"We have several anomalies that may be small craft, but again, diving on these sites is necessary to determine their status," Merriman said.